Alumnus Appointed Dean of the Graduate School

UM News

Prado photo

Guillermo “Willy” Prado

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 1, 2016)—The University of Miami has appointed UM alumnus Guillermo “Willy” Prado, the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and the director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the Miller School of Medicine, as the new dean of the Graduate School, effective immediately.

“Dr. Prado is well positioned to raise the Graduate School at UM to a new level of excellence, thanks to his passion as a researcher and educator,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

As dean of the Graduate School, Prado will work in partnership with the deans of the schools and colleges to support and develop strategies for attracting the next generation of scientists and researchers to graduate education at the University of Miami.

He will specifically manage the process of external program reviews and new program proposals, oversee the selection process for University of Miami graduate fellowships, chair the Graduate Council meetings, and meet regularly with graduate program directors, among other duties.

“This appointment is particularly meaningful to me because the University of Miami has been my academic home for 15 years, inclusive of my graduate training,” said Prado, who earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology and public health in 2005 and his Master of Science in statistics in 2000. “My plan is to work collaboratively with University leadership, graduate program directors, and the rest of the University community to continue to increase the quality of graduate education for our students.”

Prado joined the UM faculty in 2007. In the areas of research, he has served as principal investigator of approximately $10 million of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. He also has served in the roles of mentor and co-investigator of approximately $60 million of NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding, including a leadership role on two NIH-funded center grants.

His research has appeared in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

During his tenure, Prado has led the development of the Ph.D. program in Prevention Science and Community Health, as well as redesigned the epidemiology doctoral program. Having taught more than 10 graduate courses in prevention science, epidemiology, and biostatistics at UM, Prado has mentored many junior faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate students.

As chief of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health since 2013, Prado has overseen a research program endowment of $375,000. Before that, he led the Ph.D. in Epidemiology Doctoral Program and served as acting chief of the Division of Epidemiology.

John L. Bixby, vice provost for research and professor of pharmacology and neurological surgery, chaired the search committee for the Graduate School dean and describes Prado as the “best of the best.” Noting that Prado will play a key role in UM’s progress in education and research, Bixby said, “Even among a number of highly impressive applicants who interacted with the Search Committee, Willy’s personality, accomplishments, and insight stood out. I am personally delighted that he will be our next dean.”

“Willy is an extraordinarily bright, dedicated public health researcher whose enthusiasm for his work is infectious,” said José Szapocznik, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences, who recruited Prado to the faculty after he completed his doctoral degree. “His work in prevention science has made him a superstar at UM and in the national scientific community.”

Prado replaces M. Brian Blake, who was named provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Drexel University last spring. In the interim, Angel Kaifer, professor of chemistry and senior associate dean for research and graduate education in the UM College of Arts and Sciences, served as dean.

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Michael Higer, J.D. ’85, Named President of the Florida Bar for 2017

Michael Higer

Michael Higer

The Florida Bar has named Michael J. Higer, J.D.’85, president for 2017. The Miami Beach native will be sworn in at the Florida Bar Convention in Orlando in June to lead the more than 100,000 member organization.

“We are delighted to have another Miami Law alumnus as president of The Florida Bar,” said School of Law Dean Patricia D. White.

While at Miami Law, Higer served as editor of the University of Miami Law Review, was a member of the Trial Advocacy Program, and graduated cum laude.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be representing Miami Law and the U as president-elect designate of The Florida Bar,” said Higer, a partner at Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team. “Miami Law is where I learned to be a critical thinker and met some of my best friends and colleagues. It is where my love for the law blossomed.  My law school education at Miami Law was and is the foundation for my career.”

Higer is a both an experienced commercial litigator and civil trial attorney admitted to practice in Florida, Washington, D.C., and the United States Supreme Court. He has been an active member of the Florida Bar, serving on the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee.

After law school, Higer worked as a commercial litigator at Fine Jacobson Schwartz Nash Block & England before joining Coll Davidson Carter Smith Salter & Barkett, where the founding shareholders named him the first non-founding shareholder. In 2006, he formed Higer Lichter & Givner. He joined Berger Singerman in 2014.

Both the Associated Press and Daily Business Review announced the appointment.

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‘Difference Maker’ Mark Richt Returns Home to Coach the ’Canes

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

It's official: Mark Richt makes the popular U sign during at his introductory press conference as UM's new head football coach.

It’s official: Mark Richt makes the popular U sign during his introductory press conference as UM’s new head football coach.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 4, 2015) – His old school had come calling before, but Mark Richt, secure in a job in which he had achieved unparalleled success, had always told them “no.”

Then, at the end of the 2015 college football season, something happened—Richt, who compiled a 145-51 record and won two Southeastern Conference titles and nine bowl games during a 15-year stint as head coach of the University of Georgia, found himself out of a job. So when Richt’s alma mater, the University of Miami, called this time, he listened. And on Friday, you might say both got what they wanted. Read the full story

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Steven M. Altschuler Named Senior Vice President of Health Affairs and CEO of UHealth

UM News

Steven Altschuler

Steven M. Altschuler

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 24, 2015)—Steven M. Altschuler, a renowned physician and health care administrator who served as president and chief executive officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and The Children’s Hospital Foundation for the past 15 years, has been named senior vice president of health affairs at the University of Miami and chief executive officer of UHealth-University of Miami Health System.

In his new position, Altschuler will be responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the University’s clinical delivery system, which includes the University’s hospitals, faculty practice plan, and clinics. He will report directly to UM President Julio Frenk and fulfill an advising role to the executive vice president and provost of the University, the senior vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer of the University, and the Board of Trustees in order to provide strategic leadership to align clinical and research investments.

Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, the founder of UHealth and dean since 2006, will continue to serve as the head of the school, providing academic leadership to its educational and research missions.

“I am extremely grateful for the University’s confidence in me to lead this amazing system, along with the help of a skilled and dedicated team. The opportunity to be part of the institution during such an innovative era in health care and scientific research is exciting,” said Altschuler, who begins his new post on January 1, 2016.

“Steven Altschuler has a wealth of experience as a leader in both health care administration and the delivery of excellent and compassionate patient care. As senior vice president of health affairs, he will spearhead UHealth’s continued advancement as a world-class academic medical enterprise serving the Americas and beyond,” said President Frenk. “We are grateful to Dean Goldschmidt, who has been instrumental in the Miller School’s progress as one of the nation’s top medical schools and will continue to provide leadership in our academic and research efforts.”

Altschuler led CHOP’s transformation from a traditional academic medical center into a world leader in pediatric health care, research, education, and advocacy for children, with strong ties to the University of Pennsylvania. The organization has approximately 14,000 employees, including nearly 1,200 full-time physicians and researchers, at 50 different care sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In FY 2015, the foundation, hospital, and affiliates had approximately $5.4 billion in assets and $115 million in charitable contributions. Research expenditures were approximately $340 million, and the hospital supported the clinical and research training of 135 residents and 275 fellows. Since 2003, with the exception of only two years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked CHOP the No. 1 children’s hospital in the nation.

Altschuler was associated with CHOP as a postdoctoral fellow in 1982, becoming an assistant physician in 1984 and serving as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of CHOP from 1997-2000. He also was a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania from 1985-2000. Since retiring from CHOP in June 2015, Altschuler has been board chair of Spark Therapeutics, a leading gene therapy company that is a spinoff of the Center of Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP.

Altschuler received his B.A. in mathematics from Case Western Reserve University and his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He was an intern and resident at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston before serving as a postdoctoral fellow at CHOP.

“The recruitment of an esteemed leader like Dr. Altschuler reflects the continued momentum at the University of Miami and UHealth, as we seek to grow and improve our University’s contribution to our great city. This appointment is the latest step in the evolution of UHealth as a world-class medical enterprise that is driven to excel in both patient care and patient experience,” said Stuart Miller, chair of the UM Board of Trustees.Dean

Goldschmidt said it is a pleasure and an honor to pass the baton for UHealth and UM health affairs to Altschuler, whom he described as “an extraordinarily accomplished leader of medicine for the 21st century.”

“His past accomplishments are simply formidable, and our institution will benefit immensely from his expertise and talent,” Goldschmidt said. “I am delighted to have a chance to refocus all of my attention on the Miller School of Medicine and work with our faculty, staff, students, and trainees who are doing a fabulous job in promoting our ascension in the ranks of top-tier U.S. medical schools. All of us at the medical center are deeply grateful to President Frenk and the Board of Trustees for the recruitment of Steven Altschuler.”

As South Florida’s only academic-based health system, UHealth combines patient care, research, and education to create a leading-edge approach to health care. UHealth’s comprehensive network includes three hospitals: Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Hospital, and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute; more than a dozen outpatient facilities in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Collier counties; and more than 1,500 physicians and scientists.

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Miami Law Alumnus Named Microsoft General Counsel

By Mary Lynn Lyke
Special to UM News

Horacio Gutierrez 2013

Horacio Gutierrez

CORAL GABLES. Fla. (November 10,2015)—Microsoft Corporation has elevated Miami Law alumnus Horacio Gutierrez to the post of general counsel. Gutierrez, who joined the leading tech company after earning his J.D. from the University of Miami in 1998, has served as Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel since 2006. As general counsel, he will head Microsoft’s large team of legal, regulatory, and corporate affairs professionals throughout the globe.

Robert T. Maldonado, national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, called Gutierrez “a role model to Latino law students and lawyers across the country.”

When he came to the University of Miami School of Law, Gutierrez already had three legal degrees. He was also a full-time international consultant for a Miami law firm. But the native Venezuelan needed a J.D. degree before he could sit for the state bar, so he signed onto an exhausting schedule at Miami Law.

He studied at night, on weekends, in the summer, working full time, helping raise his family, and graduating summa cum laude. “Were it not for the understanding that the dean of the law school and the dean of students had of my situation, the flexibility they showed, the mentorship they offered me to be able to navigate the requirements, I may not have gone to law school and attained a J.D. anywhere in the U.S.,” said Gutierrez, a distinguished 50-year-old who speaks with a light Latin American lilt, his hands emphasizing his words.

Since 2006 he has held the influential role of corporate vice president and deputy general counsel in charge of Microsoft’s worldwide intellectual property group, responsible for protecting, developing, and maintaining a massive portfolio of more than 37,000 patented innovations. In this role, Gutierrez waged and won his share of fierce legal battles protecting Microsoft’s patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. It’s a Herculean task at a company that invests more than $10 billion a year on research and development innovations.

But he became best known for his skills as a savvy deal-maker, an IP boss whose Microsoft team would rather negotiate than litigate, cutting headline-grabbing licensing agreements with the Novells, Nokias, and Samsungs of the high-tech world.

Licensing agreements allow companies to use intellectual property rights as a kind of currency to trade with one another and make deals in a “business-like manner,” outside courts, said Gutierrez.

Bartering IP rights is a new way of doing business in an era of rapid-fire technological advances. It speeds products to market faster and spurs innovation, said Gutierrez. Several decades ago, a company might have created every component of its products in-house. Today, a single product from a company can have patented components from hundreds of companies.

Gutierrez points to the smartphone, which contains what might have been dozens of devices a decade ago. It’s a phone, a digital music player, a GPS device, a high-definition camera, and video recorder. Apply a software-enabled app and it can be almost anything: flashlight, star-finder, Scrabble board, drawing tablet. All those separate components are developed by separate companies with separate patents, linked through a 21st-century labyrinth of licensing.

“When you get any consumer electronics product in your house—a television set, a stereo—you pull it out, unwrap it, plug it into the wall, and you start using it. You can feel it, see it, touch it. What you don’t see is the intricate web of intellectual property licensing arrangements that preceded the purchase of the device by you and existed among dozens of Asian, European, and U.S. companies,” said the Miami Law alumnus, who was named the No. 1 most influential global IP market maker by the Intellectual Asset Management Report.

Along with a reputation for making deals, Gutierrez, who was the Hispanic National Bar Association Region XVI President for Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington from 2012 to 2014, has earned a reputation for making a difference in his field. He founded the groundbreaking HNBA/Microsoft Intellectual Property Law Institute, a week-long program that introduces Latino law students to the profession and its practitioners. The goal is to boost what he describes as the “severely” low number of Hispanics practicing IP law.

“The HNBA is proud that such an active and committed member of the HNBA family continues to rise through the ranks of the corporate legal and tech community,” said Maldonado. “We commend Horacio not only for his professional achievements, but also for his dedication to advancing the cause of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.”

Gutierrez grew up a lawyer’s son in Maracaibo, Venezuela. At the age of 16, he talked his parents into letting him move to the capital of Caracas to study law at the prestigious Universidad Católica Andrés Bello; on summer break, he enrolled in his first software coding class and “fell in love.”

At the Caracas university, he earned two degrees: a bachelor of laws degree and a specialization diploma in corporate and commercial law. Degree No. 3 brought him to America for studies as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Law School. He earned his LL.M. there in 1991.

Studying for his fourth degree at Miami Law, Gutierrez, who’d come from a civil law background in Venezuela, immersed himself in the U.S. common law system, taking foundational courses in constitutional law, contracts, torts, and other building blocks of the American legal system. He weighed the two systems, studying differences and commonalities. “For me, every class was an exercise in comparative law.”

He describes the environment at Miami Law as encouraging and supportive. Over the course of his studies, his professors became his mentors and his friends. Many remain so today. “That experience is unlike anything I had anywhere else,” said Gutierrez, who has also served as adjunct lecturer at the school and in 2013 was named Lawyer for the Americas by the school’s Inter-American Law Review.

Gutierrez had just graduated from Miami Law when Microsoft started calling. He signed on in 1998 as lead attorney for corporate and commercial legal matters in most of Latin America and the Caribbean. The software giant’s “cutting-edge legal opportunities” have immersed him in everything from international contracts to cross-border counterfeiting, government surveillance, telecommunications, and privacy rights. Before taking the IP lead, he had a four-year stint in Paris as associate general counsel for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. More recently he had taken on a new leadership role as corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Microsoft’s products and services group.

A year before his promotion to general counsel was announced this November 6, the keen legal scholar told Miami Law Magazine he was ready for whatever came next. “No one at Microsoft has put a limitation on what I am expected to do,” he said. “And I certainly haven’t put one of myself.”

An earlier version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Miami Law Magazine.



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